Friday, August 29, 2008

Not Happy

So, I worked over to get some things done, got home with barely enough time to get in my bike ride, hit the market, pick up some utter essentials at Tar-jzhay, get home, make my salad while Tam did up her steak[1] and, good housekeeper that she is,[2] started up the dishwasher.

Which proceeded to fill up the kitchen sink with icky water.

The drain is (partially) old cast-iron and in need for replacement. With a $400.00 estimate, I was hoping to put that off as long as possible.[3] But the good drain cleaner ("Thrift") hasn't helped in the last three hours, so....

Of course my ham shack desk is -- no, not under it, I avoided that! -- but close enough to be at risk from splashing and to be in the way of burly men wrestling 60-year-old cast-iron drainpipe. So I'll have to move it before the plumber comes by. Good thing I hadn't put any ham gear on it.

Oh what fun.

UPDATE: The next morning, water was leaking from the sink, into the cabinet, onto the kitchen floor, and into the basement! We ended up having to move a lot of stuff -- fragile little radios, most of my telegraph key collection, Tam's less-used reference books and various odds and ends. That would be the third plumbing-induced basement rearrangement. Don't you wish you were kewl like me?
1. I would so have one, too. If I could. With fries.
2. No, really. Oh, I'll grant taking spiders with a .177 bb gun is not the usual way but it's surprsingly effective. And a nice compromise between the .25 ACP on one hand and the shooing them into a plastic pillbottle and taking them outside on the other!
3. Let me tell you a story about a young woman with big plans who spurned all those idiotic variable-rate and interest-only loans and selected a house that was (just barely) within a pessimistic estimate of her budget...right before they tripled the real-estate taxes. Better yet, I won't. Seriously, if I have a cunning plan involving money? Lock me in a closet until the urge passes.


Turk Turon said...

I feel your pain.

Since I moved in here, oh, three years ago, I have had to replace the roof ($2K) and the air conditioner ($6K). The washer and dryer both went kaput but I haven't replaced them; instead, I take the clothes to a wash-and-fold service. For a double-sawbuck, they will do 25 lbs. of clothes, and much nicer than I could.

Anonymous said...

Best of luck. Hopefully they can get it under control soonest- and NOW IS THE TIME to have Roto Rooter come and scour the lines out to the street, as the pipes will already be apart. Add a few dollars to the repair to make sure you have free flowage forever.

And remember not to be sitting on the throne while flushing.

Anonymous said...

Second og's advice re: the street line, especially if you didn't have it inspected/rooted when you bought the house.

Also suggest that pouring a couple of pots of boiling water down the sink every other week helps keep the grease buildup under control (especially if you have a disposall). If you have to use drain cleaners all the time, then you've got a problem somewhere.

Ride Fast said...

Sorry for you, I hate plumbing problems. The Roto Rooter thing sounds like a good idea.

[2.] .22 LR blanks work well, too. Not as deadly as .177 BB's but the noise and gunpowder smell is delicious. Even cockroaches vaporize.

NotClauswitz said...

After nearly twenty years, this year it finally didn't rain inside the unit.
But I'm using some other drain cleaner instead of the nuclear option stuff because I dont' want it to chew a hole in the pipe and deluge my downstairs neighbor - and have to pay for that.
Good luck and great weekend!

Roberta X said...

Turk, Ow!

This clog was in a waste line from the kitchen that runs across the basement ceiling to the main stack. I had my line-to-street failure last Fall and drastic steps (oversize rooter and removal of a pine tree located over the line) seem to have solved it.

Said waste line is now all PVC, rerouted a little for better head clearance. The main stack is now the last long run of cast-iron or galvanized steel in the system.

I had the place "inspected" before I bought it. Not all that impressed with the inspector. Would not use him again.

Anonymous said...

Glad the worst of it is behind you.

Anonymous said...

The advantage of cast iron pipes is that they're much quieter than PVC.

The disadvantage is that they rot, they have grease buildup issues, and they're a pain in the ass to replace.

Roberta, you should be able to replace it yourself if you're gonna go with PVC. It's not that hard.

Roberta X said...

I should have been able to change it myself -- had I time, had I a good way to dispose of 25 feet of filthy, leaking 82 year old, 2" drainpipe.

But I had neither. I tried to take the morning as unpaid personal time but it wasn't possible.

$470-some later ($550 before discount), the problem's supposedly fixed, by a plumbing firm that offers a decent warranty on their work; the same guys that rooted out the waste-to-sewe line twice, second time free 'cos the first effort resulted in Epic Fail. The downside is, they're so big that sometimes you get fast-talkers who skip details, which is why it pays to be here when they work. Looks like the guy who did our drains is the real deal, however. Time will tell.